A finger dialing a phone number on a keypad with the text "Are Business Phone Numbers Still Important?"
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You might think with all the fancy ways to connect these days – DMs, chatbots, whatever’s trending on social media – that old-school phone calls are dead. But guess what? People still love picking up the phone, especially when they need help from a business.

Don’t believe me?

Check this out: 68% of customers still prefer getting in touch by phone! In 2024.

So, do you really need a business phone number in 2024?

Short answer: heck yeah, you do, but a phone number isn’t just about taking calls. It’s about showing customers you’re an honest company they can trust. And in a world overflowing with digital noise, sometimes that real, human connection is what sets you apart.

Let’s break down exactly why that is…

Why a Business Phone Number is Still Important

A businesswoman working on a laptop and looking worried while on a phone call in a cafe.

Forget fly-by-night websites and shady pop-up ads. In a world where anyone can throw up a digital storefront, a business phone number is proof that you’re the real deal, especially when it comes to customer service. Here’s why it matters:

Trust and Legitimacy

  • The Badge of Credibility: A phone number isn’t just about taking calls; it’s about showing customers you’re a real company with real people ready to help. You’re not some scam company looking to make a fast buck – you’re the real deal.
  • Standing Tall: It instantly separates you from online clutter, making you look established and professional. You’re ready to be there for your customers whenever, however.
  • Open Doors: A dedicated line makes it easier for customers (and potential partners) to say “yes” because they know they can always reach you. They might not ever get in touch, but knowing they have the opportunity to could be all it takes for them to get on board.

Personal Connection

  • The Human Factor: In a sea of automated messages, hearing a friendly voice makes all the difference. It shows you care. Sometimes, they’re fed up, stressed, or even anxious and don’t want to go through emails and live chats. They just want to speak to a human now.
  • Beyond Emojis: Nuances matter! Tone and inflection give a clearer picture of a customer’s needs than any text or chatbot ever could, no matter how well it’s programmed.
  • Building Bonds: That real-time connection builds trust faster than any email chain ever could. A human being is far more memorable, personable, and real!

Related Reading: Small Business Phone Etiquette — 10 Tips and Best Practices

Immediate Problem Solving

  • Cut to the Chase: Urgent issue? Forget the wait times of emails or chatbots – when something needs fixing now, a phone call gets you answers fast.
  • No Misunderstandings: Ever had a confusing email exchange? Voice-to-voice lets you clear things up right away, saving everyone time and frustration.
  • Happy Customers: Quick fixes equal happy customers. And happy customers mean repeat business and positive buzz. It’s a win-win!

So, ditch the idea that phone numbers are old news. They’re your secret weapon for building trust, connecting with customers, and solving problems quickly.  

In a noisy digital world, sometimes, the simple act of picking up the phone can be the most powerful move you make.

Challenges Managing Business Calls

Hands holding and using a smartphone with the screen facing away from the camera.

 No one is pretending that having a phone number is a magic bullet. Like everything in business, there are some downsides to consider on the path to figuring out whether it’s the right move for you:

  • The Cost Factor: If you’re bootstrapping a startup or running a super tight ship, those monthly phone bills can add up. Traditional phone setups aren’t always budget-friendly.
  • The Tech Hassle: Setting up a phone system can be a pain, and who has the time (or patience) to deal with that?
  • Staffing Struggles: Once you have a phone number, someone needs to be available to answer those calls. Hiring a dedicated receptionist or pulling team members away from their tasks can be costly and inefficient. Partnering with an answering service can help manage this challenge while ensuring every call is handled professionally.
  • Miscommunication City: We’ve all been there – a game of “broken telephone” where something gets lost in translation. Without being able to see someone or have a written record, misunderstandings can happen.
  • Missing Out on the Extras: Need to send a quick file while talking? Or see your customer’s chat history before jumping on the call? Basic phone systems just don’t offer those bells and whistles.

The Bottom Line: These downsides are real. The key is determining if the pros (trust, personal connection, etc.) outweigh the cons for your specific business.

Business Phone Systems Have Come a Long Way

Remember those bulky office phones and tangled switchboards from old movies? Thankfully, phone tech has come a long way! Here’s the deal with VoIP and cloud-based solutions:

  • Goodbye, Giant Phone Bills: Say hello to super-low (or even free!) calls using the internet instead of those pricey landlines. Perfect for startups and remote teams!
  • Need More Lines? No Problem: Scaling up or down as your business grows? It’s a few clicks away; no construction crew needed. 
  • Call Features Galore: Think of things like call forwarding, voicemail that gets emailed to you, and even video chat! Old-school phones can’t keep up.
  • Data Nerds, Rejoice! Ever wish you could track your calls the way you track website visits? Well, now you can! Connect your phone system to your CRM and gain insights to make smarter business decisions.

The Best of Both Worlds: Hybrid Communication

The smartest businesses aren’t choosing between phone calls and digital channels. They’re using them together! Why?

  • Customer Choice is King (and Queen): Some folks love a quick phone call, while others prefer email. Offer both, and everyone’s happy.
  • Nothing Gets Lost: Calls are great for speed, but a digital thread lets you track every detail. Having both means never missing a beat.

The point is that it’s not about ditching your phone number; it’s about finding smarter ways to use it alongside all the other cool tech out there.

Does Your Business Need a Phone Number?

Hands holding a white mug with the text "LIKE A BOSS" printed on it.

Before you invest in a fancy new phone system, let’s answer the essential question: Does picking up the phone actually make sense for your business? Here’s how to know:

  • Know Your Customers: Do your customers want to talk on the phone? If most of your leads come from online forms or social media, a phone line might not be the top priority.
  • Size Matters: Tiny startup with one support person? A basic phone forwarding setup might be plenty. Big company with a huge call center? That’s a whole different ball game.
  • Team Talk: Do you have the people and processes to actually handle those calls well? Dumping calls on an already-swamped team just creates new problems.

Same as we said before, a phone number isn’t a magic “make my business look legit” button. It’s a tool, and like any tool, it needs to be the right one for the job at hand. 

Conclusion

It’s easy to question the relevance of a business phone number. However, as we’ve explored in this post, a phone number is more than just a means of communication—it’s a powerful tool for building trust and credibility and providing exceptional customer service.

While digital channels have their place, many customers still prefer the personal touch of a phone call. By offering a phone number, you demonstrate that you value your customers’ time and are committed to addressing their concerns.

The decision to get a business phone number depends on factors such as your industry, target audience, and company size. If a phone number is right for your business, choosing the right system and having a plan for managing calls is crucial to ensure that every caller has a positive experience.

Ultimately, a business phone number is a tool that can help you build stronger relationships, stand out from the competition, and grow your business in ways that digital communication alone cannot.

Get Help with Your Business Calls

Managing business calls can be overwhelming, especially when you’re focused on growing your company. That’s where a professional answering service like Absent Answer comes in. Our live, U.S.-based virtual receptionists are available 24/7 to handle your calls, deliver exceptional customer service, and help you capture every opportunity.

With Absent Answer, you can enjoy the benefits of having a business phone number without the hassle of managing calls in-house. Plus, our flexible pricing plans ensure you only pay for the services you need.

Don’t let missed calls hold your business back. Partner with Absent Answer today and experience the difference a professional answering service can make.

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